“Computer: Alliance of an inexact science and a fallible human activity” - Luc Fayard
The number of programmers in the UK went from 338,000 in 2018 to 386,000 people in 2019. There’s been an upward trend over the last decade.
Would you like to teach the next generation of programmers? Are you looking for students?
In this article, we’re looking at how programmers can start tutoring and find their first students on Superprof,
Using Superprof to Find Programming Students
To find students, you need to use various channels. A multi-channel strategy is the best way about this so start by ensuring you have an online presence.
On Superprof, you can create your profile for free. You decide how much you want to charge and we don’t take any commission. Students need to pay a £29-fee to contact tutors each month and after you’ve agreed to teach them, you can decide how you want to be paid.
How to Create a Profile on Superprof
The first step involves creating an account with your email address, Google account, or Facebook account.
- You choose what you want to teach: web programming, object-oriented programming, programming for AI, coding for video games, etc.
- You can pick whether you want to teach individuals, groups, or both.
How to Write the Perfect Profile
To create your profile, you’ll need to first add a title. You have a minimum of 12 words to catch the reader’s attention and make them want to read more.
Be concise and clear about what you offer “Beginners’ lessons in Python” or “Learn to create websites”.
Next, you need to add:
- Your qualifications
- Your experience in programming
- Your experience in teaching or tutoring. Have you any teaching qualifications?
- How many students have you taught?
The goal is to ensure that your students know that you’re good at programming and teaching. Pay particular attention to spelling and keep the tone light and friendly so that they want to keep reading. You’ll need at least 40 words in this section. Avoid phrasing like “for two years” and use precise dates so you don’t have to keep updating your profile. For example:
“After graduating with a BSc in computer science, I spent 5 years working at Google. I’ve taught dozens of students and helped them both meet and exceed their personal learning goals.”
You might also want to explain your teaching approach, too. Again, this needs to be at least 40 words. Explain what a typical lesson is like so the students know what to expect. Also mention who your tutorials are for: children, beginners, intermediates, advanced students, etc.
Don’t hesitate to explain what you teach: programming, programming languages (C, Python, Java), app development, databases, HTML, CSS, etc.
You can also add your CV and explain your qualifications and previous work experience in more detail.
You’ll also need to include your address. This won’t be visible to students, but it’ll just ensure that you show up when they search for tutors in your area. You also have to mention whether you travel to your students’ homes, have them come to you, or teach online tutorials.
How to Set Your Rates
You’ll need to put your rates on your profile so start by looking at the average for your town or city. However, you might also want to look at some of the other tutors working in the area and whether they have more or less experience than you. Look for tutors with a similar profile and see what they’re charging. You can also add transportation fees, rates for online lessons, and rates for students who book several lessons at once.
The first lesson is automatically free if you don’t have a single positive review. This session is more about getting to know the student and outlining how you can help them than actually teaching them.
How Can You Stand Out against the Other Tutors?
- Add a video introducing yourself.
- Add a good profile picture: a clear picture of yourself (no logos).
- You can opt for the Premium Pass to improve your visibility on the site.
- Answer queries quickly.
- Consider asking close friends and family members for recommendations (or students if you already have some).
Students have a lot of choices when it comes to private tutors and as a tutor, it's your job to show them how you'll adapt their private tutorials to their level, their learning style, and what they want to learn. When a student chooses to learn with a private tutor, it's because they want the course to be tailored to them.
Offer Classes to Your Friends and Family
Make sure you tell your friends and family that you’re looking for work. People need to know who to turn to when they want to learn how to code.
Mention it to your friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, and almost anyone you meet!
How are they going to know that you offer lessons if you haven’t told them?
Even if they’re not interested, they’ll have you in mind if anyone mentions learning about programming. You want to be the first person they think of when somebody mentions learning to code.
Talk About Your Tutorials on Social Media
Word of mouth is important but you probably have more friends on Facebook than in real life and while they mightn’t all live in the local area, that doesn’t matter.
If you’re offering programming tutorials online, it won’t make a difference where they are. As long as they have a webcam and a decent internet connection, they can learn from you.
Again, even if your Facebook friends don’t need lessons, they may mention you to somebody who does. Encourage them to like and share your post. It could end up on the timeline of the right people.
You can also put ads on websites like Gumtree and Craigslist.
Put Up Ads in Local Businesses
This is a classic technique but it still works. Put up ads in local businesses explaining that you’re offering private programming tutorials. Briefly mention your experience with programming and teaching, your rates, and who your lessons are for (kids, students, professionals, etc.).
You can also leave flyers in letterboxes, with local businesses, waiting rooms, and noticeboards. In this case, you’re more likely to find local customers.
Schools are the most obvious place to find students or pupils but we don’t mean that you should get a job in a school.
You can ask the school’s permission to put up an ad on their noticeboard, especially around the time students are studying for their exams. Students already studying programming are more likely to be interested in your lessons.
By using all these approaches, you’re far more likely to find students!
If you don't have any other students yet, you can encourage them to take a chance on your lessons by offering the first one for free. This is an opportunity to show them how you can help them learn to code and how you'll adapt the lessons to their level, needs, and preferred learning style.
You can offer face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, or group tutorials. There are pros and cons to each for both student and the tutor so you'll need to think about how you prefer to teach and which would work best for your career.
With group tutorials, you need to find more students, but you can offer lower rates to each student and still end up earning more per hour. In this case, it's harder to keep every student happy as you can't fully tailor the lessons to each one; something a lot of students are looking for with private tutoring.
Face-to-face tutorials require more work behind the scenes as you'll need to plan every single lesson for each student and you'll often have to travel to the students' homes. Generally, you can charge more for the tutorials as the students are getting a bespoke service and are happy to pay a premium for it. You can also agree on an extra charge if you have to travel a long distance to your students or offer a discount if they'd be willing to come to you.
You can also offer tutorials to students all over the world via the internet as long as you have a decent connection and a webcam. Since you don't have to travel anywhere, you can save both time and money on transportation, schedule more tutorials each week, and charge more competitive rates as you'll have fewer outgoings. Furthermore, programming is the type of subject that lends itself well to being taught remotely as students have to be on their computer anyway.
Of course, you can also offer a combination of these different approaches depending on what the students are after. Just make sure that what you're earning covers your losses and that you're offering good tutorials at a fair rate and your students will recommend you to others and leave lovely glowing reviews on your profile!